It’s a tough life, being a desk jockey

What do we do when Papergate happens? Do we follow the leader? Intimidate fellow workers into confession? Or could we just get over ourselves, be a good leader and get on with the job?

I believe desk jockeys should be unionised.

Then we could have a national collective agreement and a national body that airs our grievances with the government! What grievances I hear you ask?

Well butter your crumpet and add another sugar to your tea, because you are going to need it. By and large the daily demands of a desk jockey are manageable as long as we have access to air-conditioning, unlimited coffee and non-basic variety Tim Tams.

However, there comes a point in a paper-pusher’s career when a line has been crossed. This happened to me and it is outrageous!

Someone took the printing I had just completed and removed it from the photocopier and put it somewhere else! I know, how could anyone be so cruel? I never got to cradle the still-warm 80gsm A4 with its ‘odour de toner’.

I will not stand for such devious, back-stabbing, and undermining behaviour! When I find out who has done it I will plot a way to set up a public downfall. Before that I will spread rumours that we have a paper larcenist.

Now back to the most enthralling moment of my day. I found said vital documents on the desk of the school secretary and in my most imposing King of the Iron Filing Cabinet Throne voice inquired, “Did you touch this?”

“Ah no, I was still in the staffroom cleaning up after someone, who has no basic house manners, left their dirty dishes in the sink instead of the dishwasher.”

“Righto,” I replied and ducked into my office. After pondering how to respond to this breach of printing etiquette, I came up with a focus for my next steps.

I asked myself – WWBD – What Would Bill Do? Yip, our leader at the top must have had his printing moved at some point and so I asked myself, what would Bill do?

Should I begin texting the secretary about Papergate, as I have now called it in my memoirs. Could I pull off over 400 texts in one year about it and then say I was just a bystander in the whole saga.

Would I be awake enough to text her at after 1am in the morning because that is apparently the only time you can contact someone. Should I locate another male and check if they have made secret recordings about who could have moved the printing?

Then I thought, maybe Bill has not had long enough in the job to have his printing moved, so I thought WWJD – What Would John Do? Yip, former leader for the past three elections, I am positive he has had someone move his printing.

So could I just go and pull her ponytail for six months and then pass it off as blokey bloke, bloke fun?

Could I put on a Rugby World Cup volunteer’s uniform and mince around the office asking who took the paperwork? Or could I get my secretary, teacher aides and librarian together and all shake hands at the same time until one of us confesses?

Or how about David? Maybe an opposition leader has a clearer view of how to handle the situation because they do not have so many reporters baying at their door.

Should I lean on the lectern in assembly and apologise for being a man? Was it my maleness that led to the paper being moved?

What would John or Bill or David do? These are the only male role-models I have and surely their actions must be beyond question as they have been and are leaders.

Then I finally heard what to do.

From the words of Prophet Jacinda came this mantra ‘Let’s Do This’ Ahh … inner peace has been restored.

Of course! I could get over myself and get on with the job. So maybe I don’t need a union, maybe a change to an inspiring leader is what is needed to get things done.


Peter Livingstone is the principal of Tinwald School. The views expressed in this column are his and do not represent the views of his school, the Ashburton Guardian or the Mid Canterbury Principals’ Association.